CSP Magazine

The State(s) of Carbon Regulation

While no U.S. state has adopted a carbon tax yet, at least one has implemented carbon-pricing programs, and several are in different stages of considering a fee. Here’s a look at where regulatory devices are under consideration and where they could soon become reality.


British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec

All eight Canadian provinces and three territories are required to introduce carbon-pricing plans by 2018 or adopt the national model. So far, four provinces have taken action. British Columbia and Alberta have carbon taxes in place, while Ontario and Quebec have adopted cap-and-trade programs.


The sixth-largest economy in the world is also home to the United States’ fırst carbon-pricing regulations: the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) and a cap-and-trade program. The state is striving to cut the carbon intensity of fuels 10% by 2020 through the LCFS.


Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island

The Massachusetts legislature is considering two carbon-pricing bills, both implementing a $10-per-ton fee on carbon dioxide that will grow to a cap of $40. Should Massachusetts’ bill pass, the nearby states of Connecticut and Rhode Island have included “trigger language” in their own carbon-tax bills that would require their provisions to go into effect to avert any cross-border competitive issues.


Four bills are under development that would institute a revenue-neutral carbon tax.


The West Coast state got close to adopting a revenue-neutral carbon tax in late 2016, but voters rejected the proposal on the November ballot. Legislators have introduced four carbon-tax bills so far in 2017, according to The Washington Post.


Hawaii, Maryland, Illinois, New York and the District of Columbia

Other states have the potential to implement their own carbon tax, according to an analysis by the Carbon Tax Center. While their locations across the country vary, their conditions are most hospitable to a carbon tax. These include their potential for weighty effects from climate change, voter concern about climate change and state renewable-energy initiatives.

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